At least 37 people have been killed after a Turkish cargo airplane crashed into homes in dense fog just beside an airport in Kyrgyzstan.
An extra 15 people including six children have been hospitalized by the crash, which was reportedly caused by a pilot error.
Independent news reported that, the nose of the ACT Airlines 747-400 killed residents after its nose struck a cluster of brick homes just outside Manas airport where it was scheduled for a stopover between Hong Kong and Istanbul.
One of the residents, Baktygul Kurbatova, who was slightly injured while speaking in a local television said, “I woke up because of a bright red light outside.
“I couldn’t understand what was happening. It turns out the ceiling and the walls were crashing on us.
“I was so scared but I managed to cover my son’s face with my hands so that debris would not fall on him.”
More than a thousand rescue workers were at the scene, just south of the capital Bishkek, where Deputy Prime Minister Mukhammetkaly Abulgaziyev said 15 houses were destroyed.
The country’s Emergency Situations Ministry says at least 37 have been killed but the presidential office reported 31.
Manas has been considerably expanded since the United States began to operate a military installation at the airport, using it primarily for its operations in Afghanistan.
American troops vacated the base and handed it over to the Kyrgyz military in 2014.
A Kyrgyzstan official told AFP that the disaster was caused by pilot error and emergency situations, while Minister Kubatbek Boronov told reporters that it was foggy.
Istanbul-based cargo company ACT Airlines, which owned the jet, said in an email that the cause was still unknown.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called his Kyrgyz counterpart Erlan Abdildaev to offer his country’s condolences.
There was initial confusion that Turkish Airlines owned the plane after the company Tweeted: “Our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic incident involving an ACT Airlines aircraft in Kyrgyzstan”, independent.co reported.